The Repair Hug

I got a little stressed out at the thought of my schedule tomorrow. Hubby is traveling. I need to pick and choose the most essential commitments, then orchestrate all the driving. Oh, joy! We won’t get to it all, but that still means quite a scramble.

In the middle of all this coordinating, I thought Sonny ran away. When I went to find him, I noticed the garage door, van door, and mudroom door were all hanging wide open.  Not a good thing in Minnesota.  As my husband says, “We’re not paying to heat the outdoors!” (just the garage).  The little giants knew Mama was not so happy about these things. I was irritated when I left to take Sonny (found sleeping inside the van) to the groomers.

When I returned home, one of my little giants said he was sorry and asked if I was still upset.

In this post, I share what happens next…

We talked about what happened and I said,

“Let’s hug.  I’ll just keep hugging you and, when you feel like we’re good as new, you can tell me to let go.”

What made me say that? I have no idea. But it was a great way to repair our disconnect.


I have a dear friend, an amazing woman, who specializes in healing traumatized children. We talked about this experience and she added some insights I thought I’d share.

First, when kids know they’re in the doghouse, they get disregulated. They feel like their attachment to Mom or Dad is jeopardized. They can’t think of what they need or want clearly until tear is mended.

Second, once equilibrium is re-established (through repair), it benefits them. They get the closure that they need and they feel reconnected to their parent.

All of this made complete sense to me. But, what she shared next, I found more fascinating.

By hugging it out with my little giant, I was meeting his sensory need. That physical affection piece is a vital part of reconnecting. Scientifically, it is a reinforcement of the deep, sensory connection kids automatically feel toward their primary caregiver. Truly, everything about me is familiar to them. My voice, smell, walk, body, touch, etc. No one else can meet their sensory need as much as me. By providing that long hug – for as long as he needed it – we were getting back to a healed, calm state. It didn’t take very long, by the way. My friend said it’s called “green brain”. If they hooked your brain up to a special monitor, it’s the color that shows up when you feel centered and at peace.

Oh, and guess what? After one little giant got the repair hug, another one wanted it, too. It was hugs all around tonight; our new green initiative.

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. Jennifer on February 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Wow Jen… Love it. Really beautiful. My heart feels full reading this and what a beautiful picture. Ahhhh, all is right is the world again. 🙂

  2. 6ftmama on February 12, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Thanks Jen. I hoped you, especially, would like it. 🙂

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